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Two late Otley tries see London Scottish suffer fourth defeat

Two late Otley tries see London Scottish suffer fourth defeat

Otley threw the form book out of the window against London Scottish at Cross Green when the sides met in National League 1 yesterday afternoon, inflicting the visitors' fourth defeat of the season with the last kick of an exciting and absorbing match to win 35-34.

Otley threw the form book out of the window against London Scottish at Cross Green when the sides met in National League 1 yesterday afternoon, inflicting the visitors’ fourth defeat of the season with the last kick of an exciting and absorbing match to win 35-34.

The Yorkshire ground has witnessed some famous matches in the past, not least the Fran Cotton-inspired North of England’s 22-19 defeat of the All Blacks in 1979, while Australia also lost to the North there nine years later.

MPU

Few, however, could have matched the drama of yesterday’s game in which the 69 points scored were split into four distinct periods of play, with Scottish racing into a commanding early lead only to be overhauled by Otley before the interval, a sequence repeated during the second half.

There was little hint of the excitement that lay ahead in an opening spell that saw the visitors claim two tries inside the first 12 minutes to take a 17-0 lead, the first from prop Andy Fahey who found himself in the unaccustomed role of impromptu winger to run in from ten yards, and the second from flanker Ollie Brown as the Scottish forwards dominated the early exchanges.

Full back Frankie Neale converted both of those to add to an earlier penalty kick, and with Scottish second in the table and Otley third from bottom, the match seemed destined to play out according to the sides’ respective league positions.

The hosts, however, had other ideas, and by the half hour were 21-17 ahead following a ten-minute spell in which they scored three tries, the first from left wing Mark Kirkby followed by a brace for outside centre Oliver Denton, with fly half James Murray successfully converting all three.

After the interval, the momentum, and the scoring, swung back the visitors’ way, with David Howells, on as replacement, causing all sorts of problems for the Otley defence. A second penalty from Neale put Scottish within a point of the hosts, and tries from the centre pairing Ian McInroy and Rory Damant, both converted by the full back, gave Scottish a 13-point cushion.

Still, Otley refused to give up and the late sin-binning of their flanker Chris Walker if anything gave them renewed impetus. On 77 minutes, full back Christian Georgiou finished off a move from the Yorkshire side’s forwards, with Murray converting to pull his side back within six points.

Then, as the game entered its dying moments, a flowing move across the back line ended with Kirkby crossing over in the left-hand corner to claim his second try of the afternoon, Murray putting his kick through the uprights from an awkward angle to claim a famous victory by a single point.

A losing bonus point plus one for scoring four tries were little cheer to the disconsolate Scottish side, who now lie five points behind leaders Esher, who have two games in hand.

Next week, Scottish face another long-distance away match when they travel to Cornwall to play Launceston, beaten 29-3 away to league leaders Esher yesterday.

In that game, the side will be missing several key players due to call-ups to the England Counties squad to face France Amateurs in Lille, including Neale who scored a hat-trick against Ireland three weeks ago.

Match report by Simon MacMichael, with thanks to Ian Aitken

Home Team
 35 (Tries: Kirkby (2), Denton (2), Georgiou; Conversions: Murray (5))
Away Team
34: (Tries: Fahey, O Brown, McInroy, Damant; Conversions: Neale (4); Penalties: Neale (2))
Home Team
Georgiou, White, Denton, Gill, Kirkby, Murray, Depledge, Blades, Waqrner, Quigley, Parr, Bennett, Barker, Walker, Stedman (Replacements: Zeiss, Steele, Ball, Watson, Wilson)
Away Team
Neale, Broughton, Damant, McInroy, Piotrowski, J Brown, Amor, Johnson, Standfield, Fahey, Palmer, Fullarton, O Brown, Lonergan, Lipp (Replacements: Silvester, Howells, Yellowlees, Grant, Graham)
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